On December 12th, the U.S. House of Representative passed a historic piece of legislation, Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) by a vote of 230-192. If signed into law, this legislation would significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs for beneficiaries and Medicare, including authorizing Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs and capping beneficiary out-of-pocket drug spending at $2,000 per year. These and other changes would result in an estimated savings of $456 billion over 10 years. Most of this money would then be reinvested into Medicare to expand benefits, such as adding coverage for dental, vision and hearing under Medicare Part B. It would also expand eligibility for the Medicare Savings Programs and Part D’s Extra Help, and expand enrollment rights for Medigap plans.
While the likelihood of this legislation becoming law is uncertain with the Senate potentially not bringing it to a vote and the President already threatening to veto it, it is still a historic piece of legislation setting an important precedent for current and future Medicare policy. California Health Advocates strongly supports this legislation and we encourage you to contact your Senators to urge them to support and pass it as well.
For more information on the details of H.R. 3, see:
- Center for Medicare Advocacy’s article with more information on the bill, the prescription drug savings and expanded Medicare benefits
- Background document on the bill from the Speaker’s office
- A summary of the bill from the relevant House committees
- Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the bill